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The World Bank Group

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data about development. WDI 2000 includes 800 indicators in 85 tables, organized in six sections: world view, people, environment, economy, states and markets, and global links. The tables cover 148 economies and 14 country groups - with basic indicators for a further 58 economies.

A sixth of the world’s people produce 78 percent goods and services and receive 78 percent of world income—an average of $70 a day. Three-fifths of the world’s people in the poorest 63 countries receive 6 percent of the world’s income—less than $2 a day. But their poverty goes beyond income. While 7 of every 1,000 children die before age five in high-income countries, more than 90 die in low-income countries. How do we bridge these huge and grow-ing income gaps, matched by similar gaps in social living standards? Can the nations of the world work together to reduce the numbers in extreme poverty? This is the fundamental challenge of the 21st century.

The next billion people: who? where?
No social phenomenon has attracted more attention in the past half century than the “population explosion”—that surge from about 2.5 billion people in 1950 to more than 6 billion in 1999, making the 20th century one of unprecedented population growth. As the number of people grew, the interval for adding another billion people became shorter and shorter, with the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion occurring in only 12 years. According to recent projections,  the 7 billion mark will be exceeded in 2014—the first time since reaching one billion that adding the next billion people is expected to take longer than for the previous billion.

More people are using more natural resources than ever, and demand will only increase. Food supply needs to double in the next 35 years to satisfy the growth of populations and economies. This will happen, to a large extent, at the expense of forests, wetlands, and biodiversity. More than a fifth of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared since 1960, and at least 484 animal species and 654 plant species have become extinct since 1600 (Watson and others 1998).

Economic growth alone will not eliminate poverty in the world. But if it is equitable growth that reaches the poor, it can create the opportunities and resources to reduce poverty. Similarly, development assistance, no matter how well intended, cannot guarantee that economies will grow. To be effective, it must be used wisely.

States and markets
Poor countries—and poor people—suffer not only because they have less capital than rich countries. They also suffer because they have less scientific and technical knowledge. Without skills and information, it is difficult to combat disease, raise crop yields, improve general welfare, and get credit at fair interest rates. If countries don’t narrow this “knowledge gap,” they could wind up stuck with lower living standards.

Global links
Trade, investment, foreign aid, migration, and tourism are all evidence of the many ties between nations that have come to be termed “globalization.” This section documents the flow of goods, resources, and people through the global economy. But the forces of globalization appear throughout the book: population growth and changing patterns of employment, the pressure that economic and demographic change has placed on the world’s resources, the expansion of service industries and the growing trade in services, and the growth of telecommunications and the

--World Development Indicators
---(the complete series)

--World Development Reports
---(the complete series)

-- Selected World Development
--- Indicators (the complete series)

--World Investment Reports
---(the complete series)

--World Investment Reports
---(selected statistics)

-- Planning for Development

Education for Sustainability
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UNCTAD areas of work:
Globalization and Development
Development of Africa
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Landlocked Developing Countries
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The following databases on-line are available:
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Millennium Indicators

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- Complete list of development themes